Mothers are the most under-appreciated, sleep-deprived and stressed people of our generation. We said goodbye to quiet times and clean homes the moment we got our little kids. As for myself, there are days when I wonder how I can hold my wits together. Since we teach best what we most need to learn, I had compiled a list of tips that had helped me to keep sane while parenting my toddlers.
Good sleep is a precious commodity that is as rare as rubies. Forget to keep up with your to-do lists, let go of the need to have a pristine house or to go productive. Go to sleep. I cannot stress this enough, too much that I am already yawning myself. We start aging faster the moment we let go of our precious rest. Those days when we settle with just four or five hours of sleep, we are hardly giving ourselves justice. We become cranky, irritable and fuzzy-brained once we stretched ourselves thin. We are not made of steel. Sleep as your child naps. Sleep on your couch or at your car after lunch. Put your partner-in-charge of the house for a day every weekend. You deserve rest, above all else.
2. Let it go
There is no “perfect parent” or “ideal kid” contest anywhere. Let go of the need to have the cleanest house. Don’t stress about not having the smartest child in class. Do not tire yourself and your kid by hopping to every extra-curricular activity. Give yourself and your child some down time to do nothing. You heard me right, do nothing! Pick a day every week to do nothing. Enjoy a quiet day with your kids, sans Wi-Fi, electronic equipment or TV. Let go of the need to keep up with what’s happening everywhere. The world won’t end if you failed to keep tabs with your social media. Don’t commit the sin of over-scheduling, being too busy and working yourself till weekends. If you forgot to watch your children grow, before long they’ll all grown up, and you’ll miss all those soft snuggles.
3. Set some time for yourself
Having kids is not a life sentence. Pamper yourself just like how you spoil your children. Move, work out and maintain your appearance and figure. Being a parent is not an excuse to being your fabulous self. Find some “me-time” daily doing something you love. Go shopping, learn something new, go to the gym, and get your hair done, whatever! If you can’t find some time to exercise, just walk around the block. If you got nobody to look after your baby, then bring him in. Invest in a good jogging or all-terrain stroller to keep you active with your baby in tow.
4. Prepare your days in advance
Set a day every week to cook and freeze food. Cook food in batches and plan meals for the whole week. Do the week’s menu in advance so that your partner or older kid can easily heat up meals on the dot. Arrange your work clothes for the whole week. Write down lists, appointments, schedules, and reminders on a white board. Don’t commit everything to memory; it will just stress you out. Plan and prepare everything ahead, so you’ll have more time to look after your child the whole week.
5. Child-proof your house
Stock on one-ply toilet papers and dilute your liquid soaps. Lock up your gas and cover up your electric outlets. Keep tabs and elevate your cleaning chemicals to a place inconspicuous to your little explorers. Find child-safe cleaning chemicals. Lock down your medicine bottles and stuff. Jot down the number of your child’s doctor and poison control center. Have a first aid kit around the house. Don’t keep carpets because they are just poop magnets. Prepare for contingencies. You’ll never know!
6. Don’t eat crap
Don’t eat like your toddler, for goodness sake! Eat like a soldier getting ready for the battlefield. Nurture your body and stop eating crap. Parenting is not a one-time thing; it’s for the long haul. It’s not a race but rather, an endurance run. Pare down your caffeine intake as it can just make burn you out. Eat to keep your body in tip-top shape day in and day out.
Relax your standards. You see, the world won’t end if you forget to a detail or if you failed to pick up the trash. Don’t take it personally if your child acts up. We are far from being perfect parents but there isn’t any contest. Your little buggers might be the messiest kids in the entire universe, but remember, it’s just a phase.